Lots of us parents get to a stage where we’re not coping well, struggling to stay afloat, physically and emotionally. You may even feel at breaking point some days. It used to take a village to raise a child, but where’s the village now?
Post Natal Depression, or any number of things along that line is a debilitating place to be. Even just the ‘blues’ can make life feel hard and miserable, pretty much all of the time.
PND is best treated by professionals and appropriate support. But sometimes just asking for help from friends and family, and getting the support you need, will be enough to start to see the light when you’re feeling down.
How does not coping well look for you?
Is it that you are exhausted, ALL the time? Is it that you feel you are not bonding with your baby? Does it mean your house is a mess? Does it mean that you don’t give your kids or partner all that you would ideally like to?
What’s possible is that by acknowledging you’re in a bit of a pickle and not coping well, you open up to the opportunity to accept and receive help and support.
How great would it be that if all of those things that are important to you but are currently getting you down because they are not being done, were suddenly done?
Whatever your current situation happens to be, there are ways that you can make some changes for the better. Asking for help is the biggest hurdle.
Where’s the village gone that used to raise our kids?
Are we trying to be the extended family all by ourselves?
Modern society is great and it promotes independence, perhaps a little too much though. Are we as a society trying to be (the not that long ago fairly typical) extended family all by ourselves?
We used to have the grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings around to offer support in all sorts of ways. Nowadays, the grandparents are working harder than ever, and the siblings are off to far flung places… don’t get me wrong, this is great – you have a place to stay when you go abroad, but the support that was around and considered normal is no longer there. And, it’s not like everyone can afford to employ people to do all of that supporting… so what do we do?
We try to do it all ourselves! And sometimes, we are falling down in a heap. This is not because you are not good enough, or because you are a bad parent, or not trying hard enough, it is simply because… we are trying to do the work of many people.
here is a saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” – one person cannot be that village.
So how can you recreate the village effect?
The answer is to look at what is not working. Take a good look, write those things down. What are the most obvious things, and what can you implement around those issues to make your situation work better.
Is it getting a babysitter (swap with a friend) so that you can go out?
Is it asking a friend to help out with a meal or two?
Is it lining up someone to help with the cleaning for a few weeks after your baby is born?
Whatever the problem, there is a solution. One of the biggest issues I see with my clients who have a new baby is that the eating/sleeping rhythm is not in sync, the reality of this is that one does not work well without the other.
Once I’m able to help with one area, the other naturally follows suit. It may not be as easy as I make it sound, but there is a solution to be found in there, and when it starts to work, everything else has the chance to function properly.
Another issue is when toddlers don’t go to bed when their parents are wanting them too. So, when I go in and work with them, a little like Supernanny does, then they see what they need to do to stay consistent and get the results they are after.
The answers are out there. You just have to admit you have a problem, big or small, it doesn’t matter. Ask for help (and be open to receiving it), and search for a possible solution that works for you.
Good luck, and know that you are doing the very best that you can, because you are not a village all on your own.
For more great advice on survival techniques as a family, check out our Grown ups: Health and wellbeing section.